How Hollywood Agencies Are Navigating the Million-Dollar Playing Field of College Athlete NIL Deals

·1-min read
How Hollywood Agencies Are Navigating the Million-Dollar Playing Field of College Athlete NIL Deals

When top-ranked Alabama kicks off its 2021 season against Miami this weekend, the Crimson Tide’s new quarterback, Bryce Young, will have already surpassed his predecessors in the newest metric for college sports: earnings away from the football field. On July 1, the NCAA finally allowed college athletes to start signing endorsement deals, otherwise known as NIL (names, image and likeness) deals. The shift is the result of a two-year legal battle — which itself was preceded by decades of growing advocacy to allow collegiate athletes to make money off their image and likeness, after years of colleges being the only ones to profit off of them — that figures to forever alter the college sports landscape. And some of the largest Hollywood agencies like WME and CAA are getting into the newest game in town. CAA, a longtime power in the sports world, made Young and incoming Duke freshman basketball player Paolo Branchero its first two collegiate NIL clients. Endeavor’s WME, whose sports operation has only been around for a few years, has signed LSU gymnast Olivia Dunne as its first NIL player. “Rarely do you have something that is potentially so earthmoving that just literally happens on the turn...

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